Detroit Red Wings forwards Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader are best known for their talents on the ice, but on Thursday they took to the sky with members of the Breitling Jet Team.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) August 22, 2016
The flights took place as part of the Thunder Over Michigan Air Show which took place on Aug. 20-21 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Larkin and Abdelkader soared over 10,000 feet in the air and reached speeds of up to 565 mph, as the Breitling team maneuvered seven L-39C Albatros jets through the sky. Although Larkin and Abdelkader were each a passenger in their respective planes, Larkin had the opportunity to perform a barrel roll up in the air.
“I actually got to do a barrel roll myself, take over control. I was just focused on looking down and not looking up in the air. What those guys do is pretty incredible,” Larkin told Detroit’s MLive.com. “When you bank to the left or to the right you pick up some serious speed. When we were coming over to the airport to land, that was pretty fast, you could definitely feel it in your stomach and your chest.”
Abdelkader is no stranger to the skies, as he flew with the Blue Angels five years ago.
“Knowing how to breathe on the plane kind of helps, squeezing the legs, trying to keep the blood in your head, because if you don’t … I’d be curious to hear if anyone passed out,” Abdelkader said. “We did a couple of barrel rolls, we flipped upside down and did a left turn.”
Abdelkader also spoke about his experience with the Breitling team and his aspirations of wanting to be a pilot when he was growing up.
The Breitling Jet Team is supported by the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer, Breitling, and is the largest professional civilian jet team in the world. The Jet Team’s remaining tour schedule includes a stop in Toronto from Sept. 3-5 for The Canadian National Air Show.